Prank Gone Wrong: Paralyzed ECU Grad Making Progress

RALEIGH - A party prank went terribly wrong, and one bride-to-be is now paralyzed.

Rachelle Friedman and her best friends were all dressed up and celebrating a bachelorette party poolside when someone shoved her in the shallow end.

"As soon as it happened my body stopped moving," said Friedman, who added that she felt her neck snap when she landed in barely two feet of water. "I became stiff; I lost feeling and you just know your body. And so, I knew instantly. I told my friends to call 9-1-1 that it wasn't a joke that we had to call 9-1-1."

Friedman had broken her C6 vertebrae and was paralyzed from her chest down.

Months of rehab followed near her Alma Mater of East Carolina University.

Even though the wedding hasn't yet happened, Friedman's fiance' Chris Chapman , also an ECU grad and middle school teacher, never lost his commitment to her

"We know we're a strong couple and when I got hurt it never crossed my

mind that he would leave because of it, Friedman said. "And after going into therapy and talking to some of the doctors, it's at least 50-50 people leaving their partners after they are hurt."

The couple now lives near Raleigh.

"We do as much as we can to maintain the lives that we had ... (but) it's adapted," Chapman said. "It may take a little longer to do certain things but we keep as close as we can to who we are."

The couple plans to marry once insurance issues are settled.

Meantime, Rachelle has discovered wheelchair rugby and is in Philadelphia this weekend playing in a big Quad Rugby Tournament.

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